Thanks to my path, I can now casually stroll into our wetland when it isn't frozen solid! This makes me deliriously happy. No mud, no ticks, and no poison ivy!
Our neighbors Adam and Diane had some trees cut down a few years ago, and despite their attempts to give it away as firewood, they still ended up with a large pile of rotting wood. They generously gave it to me for use along the edges of my path. It will provide a home for insects, which will in turn feed the birds and other wildlife; and over time the logs will become mossy lumps like the fallen trees that are slowly being digested into the swamp here.
My little "pond" is swollen with water. I would be concerned with the scum in it, if the surrounding vernal ponds weren't equally scummy. The frogs don't seem to mind. One or two always dive for cover when I come near.
My path lets me view the rock from this angle now. Do you see those two lone skunk cabbages by the rock? I left them there deliberately. It was gardening by the subtractive method.
I wasn't expecting to have made so much progress by now, but the sand bridge gave me access to a mossy sort of island. Now, finally, I can get a look at what grows here al all times of year, rather than just in the dead of winter when the muck is a sheet of solid ice. And it turns out that many of those bare shrubs are spicebush - Lindera benzoin. This shrub is native all along the East Coast. It is the host plant to the spicebush swallowtail butterfly, and the berries are a good food source for birds in the autumn. The flowers aren't as showy as a lot of the other trees that are currently blooming, but they do make lovely splashes of color where the slanting sunlight illuminates them framed against shadowed trunks. Viewing them is a more intimate experience than viewing one of the more popular nursery-cultivated flowering trees.